|Stewart has interview appointments in London|
|Location:||London, England, UK|
CRISIS OF IDENTITY
WHO WAS THAT MASKED MAN? KLARK KENT, STEWART COPELAND AND PHIL SUTCLIFFE REVEAL ALL (NEARLY)
SOMETHING CAUGHT the corner of my vision, I spun round and there was Superman bounding straight towards the window and alighting on the sill with marvellous grace.
But I blinked and... no, this man was wearing his tights outside his Y-fronts. It was only Stewart Copeland. He tapped on the glass like a hungry sparrow and Sonja Kristina let him in (through the door that is).
He sat down at a battered gate-leg table bearing much debris, mundane and exotic, a dirty cup, a book of matches from the Pyramids Hilton - a fair sample of Stewart and Sonja's aimiably non-colour-supplement abode. We began to talk about his controversial associate Klark Kent - a shadowy figure who already thinks himself such a star that he gets a stand-in to do his interviews.
Stewart craved indulgence for these delusions of grandeur. Apparently the problem is that Kent, teamed as romantic lead with his dusky discovery Fatima Al Wahbar, has become big box office in Middle East movies and feels he ought to be accorded the same reverence here. There again his eminence as founder-leader of the Church Of Kinetic Ritual can hardly have dampened his ego.
As Stewart said: "These guys get surrounded by apostles and before you can say hallelujah you have the Ten Commandments."
But, in all honesty, do you really want to know about a guy who's massive in Mesopotamia? Pausing only to remark that the 'Klark Kent' mini-LP is a gangling, gawkily humorous piece of plastic to have come from such a guru let's talk about the Police.
THEY ARE IN a rare period of reflection. They are writing songs, Sting in Dublin, Stewart in hot pursuit. The next move is to record their third album in Holland, then play Milton Keynes festival and remount the international tourgoround.
Meanwhile, Stewart has reached near-OD on raw success. He expresses no hyprocritical resentment of it - it's more that he has explained its outer limits, he's seen it.
"It gets really awe-inspiring," he said. "At times you feel like Dr Frankenstein standing back and watching while the monster you have created does its worst. Look around. I'm tripping over these gold albums. The first one I couldn't wait to show people and talk about it and look at it - now I'm self-conscious."
He showed me his new basement studio. "You don't go for the flashy cars side?"
"This cost more than a Rolls Royce Silver Cloud," he replied with wry satisfaction, then pulled back to say how he often caught himself boasting about this or that new toy (though the studio is more a tool of his trade) and he knew it must get up people's noses so he was trying to start a tongue-biting campaign to batten down the bombast.
This must be hard as Stewart is an enthusiast, his blood is pure adrenalin. Because he's up it doesn't mean he's trying to put you down. However, now the's through what he calls the "nose-thumbing" phase of making-it he's more wary about appearances.
Of course, another factor that doesn't help is the ambiguous light success casts on those around the star: "My cup runneth over with appreciation. I crack a joke, make a silly face and everyone falls about. I don't mean people aren't genuine to me. I think they mostly do like me. But I've got enough of that. So being criticised by the press or whoever can be very good for us, even if it makes me splutter over my scrambled egg at the time."
Mind you, at the Police level the artist is not allowed to doubt the merit of his work. Too much depends on it. And Stewart does keep the faith, he will actually say and mean "I love everything we've done" although he recognises that others may disagree.
The responsibility bears down: "Occasionally I get vertigo. So many people earn a crust from my activities, from something as delicate and transitory as my talent. While we were in the States last year A&M fired 180 people. People we knew as friends in some cases. The atmosphere in the place was like a morgue.
"So if I give them a tape now and, on reflection, tell them I think it's disappointing I get 'What! We've got the year's budget planned, we're shipping gold, we've got the platinum albums ordered!' We can't have second thoughts now."
THEY ONLY WISH they'd been offered the chance over the present British ploy of going to the well of the Police's old singles once again to haul up yet another bucket full of sheckles in the shape of the repackaged complete set with the cunningly tossed in track-you-can't-get-elsewhere (the live version of 'The Bed's Too Big Without You').
Stewart said resignedly: "Neither the group nor A&M liked the idea. That's Miles (his brother and manager) and his plans for world domination. The last thing we needed was a third release of 'Roxanne' and 'Can't Stand Losing You'. And it's a drag that there's anything new to suck people in. It's a mistake."
It seems the band fouled up by not giving an absolute veto when the concept was casually mentioned on the last British tour. Then on their return from the Far East, they found it was a fait accompli.
This brought us to the only point at which Stewart regrets the effect the band has on their most devoted fans.: "The fact is they drink these things up. Some of them want us to do another badge disc they can spend £25 on! I don't go along with that."
That's when consumerism, the relationship between the businessmen and the customers, conspires to make a successful band exploitative whether they like it or not. Stewart could only shake his head and explain that they were in a position where they had to depend on local decisionmakers around the globe. This had been a wrong local decision in the UK.
He hadn't stonewalled that awkward subject, but he was much keener to talk about the wildly positive side of the Police's love affair with their fans. These days crowds run crazy for them: "It's so intense. It's moving. I've got some films of our audiences and the expressions on their faces just don't relate to reality.
"I tell you I know and love Sting as all his close friends do, but none of us would act like that over him. It has to do with something going on in their heads. I feel it's good because it's part of their entertainment, they are enjoying themselves. And of course it affects me too.
"Think of me on stage magnified 10 times by the PA, another 10 times by their imaginations: I feel larger than life. I can perform feats of stamina and strength that shouldn't be possible for a weedy person such as myself. It's a congregational experience as the Kinetic Ritualists have it."
I SAID IT sounded to me as though Klark Kent was more like Stewart Copeland than Stewart Copeland was. "You've touched on something very profound there," he enthused, wide-eyed with admiration. "The point is that Klark Kent is more like everybody than anybody is!"
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source: Stewart Copeland's diary